Friday, August 28, 2009

More Forms

I love crap like this, and I get a lot of it.

Here's a form that I need to sign, then fax back to a drug company to get medication samples.

Notice how, in the same paragraph that says I'm supposed to sign and fax, it also says that a signature stamp isn't allowed.

It's a freakin' fax! How would they know?

(click to enlarge)


dalaii said...

Quick question for you Dr. G:

Our hospital (large, tertiary, urban center) currently has a policy in place that would prohibit the use of samples starting in 2010.

Do you feel the use of samples, in general, helps with access to medication, or perpetuates the problem by supplying patients with much more expensive drugs rather than therapeutically generic equivalents?

Understandably if there are no other generic alternatives for a drug class, samples are great, but we were discussing this policy in the pharmacy today and I thought a physician's perspective would be interesting.


Grumpy, M.D. said...

I support samples.

I don't consider myself a tool of pharma. I use A LOT of generics preferentially for most conditions.

But there are some conditions where there are no generics available, or where those that are are quite inferior to the brands.

If a patient may need an expensive drug, I'd rather let them try it for free for a month to see if it's even worth the co-pay.

I also use a lot of my samples to support patients who otherwise couldn't afford their medications. Many docs seem to hate doing this, but I have no problem with it. When I had a health issue during my 2nd year of med school, I had no money for the only med that helped me. A kind PA at student health gave me samples each week until I was cured. I'd rather take the time to give out free samples than see my patients go without treatment.

RSDS said...

I wish that I could find someone kind enough to let me try a sample of two, or even just one, tablets of Maxalt-melt, which I have read are supposed to be cherry flavored. The Zomig-zmt that I get through the VA are artificially orange flavored. The orange flavoring is extremely nauseating, which is something that I do not need during a migraine attack.

But I know that all of the Triptans are frightfully expensive.

The D-Bag Daily said...

I think it's great that you do that, and I would do the same if I were a physician.

It's an unfortunate problem, though, that patients start on a month's worth of samples, fall in love with the drug, and finally get around to presenting the prescription to the pharmacy - only to find out that it's Prior Authorization only, and/or not covered, and/or an outrageous copay. Then I'm the jerk who's making it difficult for them to get the drug. And they've used up all their samples!

Soooo...what I'm getting to is...just a suggestion to make their lives (read: my life) easier: can you tell your patients to go to the pharmacy with the Rx BEFORE they start the samples? We can run a claim and tell them right there if it's Prior Auth (and doc can get started on approval), etc.

I'm just sayin'.

Hope you know that I'm not criticizing.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

D-Bag Daily- I already do that, telling them that the drug is expensive and unlikely to be covered by their insurance. I warn them when I give them the samples, and tell them to check their insurance formulary or ask their pharmacist in advance.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

RSDS- Sorry, but the Maxalt-MLT are nasty, too. It's not cherry, but a very bitter mint flavor.

Trouble is that the "triptan" molecules themselves are very bitter, and it's just hard to cover that up.

Bottom line is that if you don't like the taste (and no one does) just pour water after the pill- ASAP.

The D-Bag Daily said...

I figured you probably did! ;-)

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